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Why Adobe Premiere's Lack Of Preference Management Matters

To many, Premiere's lack of settings manageability does not pose a problem. It has virtually no effect on an individual user (even one working professionally as a freelancer). It may also be of little concern to an organization where editing is not a business critical task and/or only a handful of users work in the software. Yet, in an enterprise that maintains a cohesive collection of workstations where editing is the primary task, it can create some significant issues.

This article is part of a series:
Managing Adobe Premiere Pro Preferences In OS X

Part 0 - Why Premiere's Lack of Preference Management Matters

Part 1 - Understanding Premiere's Preference Structure & Behaviors

Part 2 - Devising A Strategy For Management

Part 3 - Developing & Testing An Implementation

What Makes Premiere Difficult To Manage?

Many applications written for OS X can be managed through the use of Apple's configuration profiles.  These profiles provide a relatively standardized method to control an app's settings, provided they are contained within property lists (plists) that adhere to Apple's specs.  Premiere, unlike many applications, stores its settings within an XML file with a proprietary structure and location.  As a result, configuration profiles are not applicable and the situation becomes more challenging.

Why Is Management Desirable?

Below are a few examples of what could be possible:
  • Enforcing auto-save to be on, and set to a predetermined interval, balancing risk of data loss vs excessive workflow slowdown.
  • Disabling automatic generation of audio waveforms to speed up project loading and minimize unnecessary data storage.
  • Ensuring the project locking feature is enabled to prevent conflicts on shared storage without native file locking.
  • Naming label colors consistently across workstations to conform with organization's best practices & workflow conventions.
  • Preventing audio being routed through incorrect hardware interfaces.
(For the reader who may not be as familiar with the broader concept of managed preferences, this Amsys article contains a succinct explanation. The technical details are a bit outdated but the explanation of concepts and examples remain relevant.)

What Can Be Done?

While PRE's choice to eschew plists precludes the use of configuration profiles that doesn't mean there aren't other possibilities for managed settings. Firefox, an application that also stores many of its settings outside of plists, has two different Mozilla provided methods for preference control, as well as a separate branch of the browser with levels of control intended exclusively for managed environments.

With Premiere, Adobe only offers a way for individuals to sync their personal preferences across machines via Creative Cloud (the opposite of what a managed environment intends to achieve). Beyond this feature there is little documentation on what can be done to alter PRE's settings from outside the user interface.

The next entry in this series will focus on understanding the structure of PRE's preferences and how they behave. This information will determine what, if anything, can be done to address the problem of manageability.

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